Please read “About this project and the Author” for more information on my project. In this excerpt, Daryl discovers attraction…
“I was so afraid to lose that magic, I never sought to hear his music and instead, let fate surprise me with precious and randomly chosen images of my past, reassured by the knowledge that his music only brings back the happiest of memories.
A few years ago, I was running errands and I was in line at the pharmacy when his song “Sitting” began playing on their radio, triggering a very specific memory to come back to me. Something I hadn’t thought about for many years. Something only a song by Cat Stevens could push up to the surface. The images were so vivid, I had to get out of the line and sit down in the waiting area to soak them in.
When I first arrived at Ville Joie, the government had just taken over the administration of the orphanage which had been, until that point, ran by nuns. By the time I got there, only a few of them had stayed and were still working there, like our nurse, Sister Lisa. Since the state was involved, the educators had to be specially trained or have some sort of university diploma in a program related to dealing with children such Special Education or Child Care Worker. This approach was fairly new and soon, a fresh group of students reached the part of their course where they had to spend some time in the field for their training. Sure enough, a bunch of them showed up at Ville Joie for their internship which was scheduled to last a few months.
We loved our educators madly and we would never have traded any of them, for all the marbles in the world but, these interns were new faces, new voices, new everything and to a child, “new” is irresistible. So on their first day, a group of young interns stood in front of us in a little group and introduced themselves one after the other. Of course, I can’t remember all of their names, only two of them.
First there was Pete who was very tall, had incredibly large shoulders and a deep voice. He seemed so strong, he looked like he could carry all of us on his large back, a theory we once proved.
“Hi, my name is Pete” resonated throughout the entire room turned silent at the sound of his voice.
Then, from behind Pete, I heard ” Hi, my name Andrée” spoken with the sweetest, the softest voice of them all. I stretched my neck to try and get a look at the girl who had just introduced herself. I could see her feet, her legs and her hands but whenever I moved to see her face, Pete would be blocking my view. That voice moved something in me and I was overpowered by the need to see the girls’s face. I looked around the room and all of the other kids were acting normally, it was as if they had simply heard her name while I had heard something completely different, a presageful whisper intended just for me as a warning that something was about to change inside of me. Still, no matter how hard I tried or how I positioned myself, big Pete was in the way.
After the other interns introduced themselves, it was our turn to say our names and when it came to me, I shouted “DARYL” in Pete’s direction in the hope Andrée would stick her head out to see who would yell his name in such a way but it didn’t work; all it did was draw a huge laugh from the entire room which made me feel pretty stupid. Finally we were invited to go meet the new guys and shake their hands so I stood up and tried to reposition myself to see the face of the girl with the beautiful voice. Still no luck; the others had already overwhelmed the interns and since I was so small, all I could see were the back of the heads of my friends as well as the adults’ belt buckles.
I stayed at the back, looking down, and I was about to give up on my quest to see Andrée’s face when Giles came up to me to say it was ok to join in, so I walked right inside the group and was stopped by Pete whose hand made mine disappear when he shook it. I met the other interns, shook their hands as well and then, when I was no longer expecting it, the mysterious girl who’s sweet voice had cause such turmoil inside of me was right there, smiling and looking at me. She had short brown hair split in the middle as it was brought into fashion by Dorothy Hamill at the time, big blue eyes, porcelain skin she obviously knew didn’t need any makeup and a smile to die for. Andrée was a stunning beauty. “Weak in the knees” is not just an expression because when I saw her face for the first time, I dropped about two inches before I instinctively pushed myself back up bearing a look on my face that surely revealed I had no clue what was happening to me. I regrouped the best I could and looked at her face again for a few more seconds with my eyes, and probably my mouth, wide opened.
Andrée broke the awkward silence by saying “Aren’t you Daryl? I like the way you said your name earlier, with gusto!”
“Who’s Gusto?” I asked, quite seriously…”
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